The Cloverdale Police Department issued a letter to Cloverdale businesses that may sell tobacco. The letter, dated Nov. 25, but distributed Jan. 1,  serves as a reminder of the city’s municipal code, which directly addresses the sale of flavored tobacco products.

According to the letter penned by Chief of Police Jason Ferguson, “the department is experiencing an increase in reports involving minors in possession of flavored tobacco products and flavored vapes.”

As a way to potentially reduce the occurrence of minors smoking or vaping tobacco, the department has decided to amp up its efforts to make sure that businesses are complying to the limits of the ordinance, which states:

“Municipal Code Section 8.08070 prohibits the sale of tobacco products containing, as a constituent or additive, an artificial or natural flavor (other than tobacco or menthol) or an herb or spice, including strawberry, grape, orange, clover, cinnamon, pineapple, vanilla, coconut, licorice, cocoa, chocolate, cherry or coffee, that is characterizing flavor of the tobacco product or smoke produced by the tobacco product.”

The ordinance outlining the parameters of tobacco sales (as well as public smoking) was passed by the city council in October 2017.

The letter also served as an official notice to business owners that the police department will be conducting random business checks to make sure that businesses are complying with the ordinance.

One of the catalysts for the business checks occurred during a November joint Cloverdale City Council and Cloverdale Unified School District Board of Trustees meeting, during which some district trustees said that while the city has a flavored tobacco ban, flavored tobacco vaping products are available to purchase at businesses in town.

During the meeting, Trustee Preston Addison said that while flavored tobacco products are an issue in Cloverdale schools, the majority of students caught vaping are vaping cannabis.

“This is also about educating business owners on the ordinance,” Ferguson said, referencing the letter. Ferguson said that those with questions or concerns about the ordinance are welcome to contact him.

As of press time, Ferguson hadn’t been contacted by any businesses with questions or concerns, and the Cloverdale Police Department had not performed any random business checks for compliance.

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